David Gans (tnf) Fri 30 Mar 12 20:02
BTW, I enjoyed that Horizons gig very much. "Desperado," "Sweet Baby James," etc. are in my DNA from my youth, and it's great fun to play them and sing them. I don't practice at home nearly as much as I probably ought to, so a gig like that is good for my overall musicianship even if it isn't particularly rewarding on the communicating-with-people level.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 30 Mar 12 20:12
I play blues harp, primarily for my own enjoyment...I got into doing session work serendipitously, and loved it...you hear someone's music, hear a line, and do it; usually one take, with Pro Tools. And then you hear it back and you are a part of it, and the song has changed. Something very satisfying about that, when it all comes together. Great fun to then do it live with everyone --- just making music. All to say, I've never been a musician in the sense of what you all do. Played a few live gigs with a blues guitarist who does it for a living. Two were fun, two I left shaking my head not knowing how he does it. You all are very special in what you do.
those Andropovian bongs (rik) Fri 30 Mar 12 21:10
David had a friend of mine, Maurice Tani, doing his tunes and talking, on his radio show a couple of months ago. Up until about 10 years ago, Maurice had been making an excellent living playing 70s covers in the corporate party band Zasu Pitts Memorial Orchestra, and Big Bang Beat. And I mean a good living. A salary that bought him a nice home in Berkeley, health care, and the works. They had no hits of their own, but covered all the Motown and Stax hits and Boomer music of the 70s and early 80s. But he got burnt out on it, and bailed to make a living as a graphic artist. David asked him what that was all about, and he said, "I wanted to go back to making music for fun." Maurice has a number of musical outlets now, all of which are first rate. He's makng the best music of his life and writing terrific songs. And he's playing the same bars we are. His songwriting outlet, an Americana band called 77 El Deora ("That's Spanish for THE Deora") is an operation I go out of my way to hear. I've even paid money. Great songs, great vocals, and a rockin band, and yet they remain a local act. He has a Bakersfieldish country outfit called GSM, with David Phillips on steel, Ken Owen on drums, and Mike Anderson from 77 El Deora on bass. They're as good as the Buckaroos or the Strangers, and they're still playing bars in Soma. He does a duet with Pam Brandon (who's also in the western swing outfit, Lost Weekend, using the boys in GSM, and he and Mike make the rounds of the open mics as Briggs and Stratton, playing Maurice's originals. The guy is superb, works a lot, and remains a local hero. I have some theories about what's going on here, but I've just had my after work beer and am beginning to have spelling troubles. (I'm a cheap drunk) More later.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 31 Mar 12 04:56
<scribbled by tcn Sat 31 Mar 12 06:28>
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 31 Mar 12 06:29
Sorry, dumb and poorly worded, so I scribbled it.
David Gans (tnf) Sat 31 Mar 12 08:30
I'd like to hear from some consumers of music here, too. That whole thing has changed a great deal in just the last 10-20 years. So many fewer record stores, so much more online music. Cmmercial radio gets worse and worse; online radio stations train themselves to give the listeners what they want. And so on. How you acquire music has a hige effect on how I market it.
David Gans (tnf) Sat 31 Mar 12 08:30
Susan Sarandon, tractors, etc. (rocket) Sat 31 Mar 12 14:19
(I remember getting electrocuted a lot in the punk rock days. It seemed like we were standing in puddles of beer in basements most of the time. But we had no idea that wasn't really normal.) I buy new and used vinyl records every month, but never CDs and no iTunes. This is less unusual than it might soun
Susan Sarandon, tractors, etc. (rocket) Sat 31 Mar 12 14:20
... Might sound. Dang iPad.
Gary Greenberg (gberg) Sat 31 Mar 12 14:58
I don't acquire music much anymore. I have a Sonos system in my house. It rusn on the wireless network, picks up any digital music on our computers, and from the Internet, and plays it anywhere in the house where there is a receiver (meaning a Sonos receiver) and an amp and speakers. I love it. I have a subscription to Rhapsody, plus access to Pandora radio and some others, and find I can pretty much stream anything I want--Rhapsody is surprisingly deep, although some old chestnuts are missing, things like CSNY's Deja Vu and most of the Jerry Garcia Band stuff. If I want to hav e music in the car, or something not available through Rhapsody, I download. I stay pretty honest--as a content provider myself, I believe in copyright. But I do a lot of downloading from archive.org. The Sonos doesn't read all the lossless formats archnive offers, so sometimes I have to screw around with conversions. What I like about this setup is that it facilitates the music nerd in me. Like the other day, teh song The Sloop John B. was in my head, and I wondered where it came from ande whether anyone ahd ever done a reggae version of it. Rhapsody listed like 25 different versions, only two of which were by the Beach Boys. There was a steel drum version, and a sea shanty version, and an Irish drinking version, and a Jerry Jeff version (who knew?) but no reggae. I can't do this when my wife is around, but listening and comparing and contrasting was lots of fun. AS was playing the Beach Boys in one room, Dick Dale in another, and the Kingston trio in a third, and crossfading. Like I said, only when the wife is away...
Gary Greenberg (gberg) Sat 31 Mar 12 15:04
I've also recently discovered youtube as a music source. I know, that gives a whole new meaning to "late adopter," but there it is. And have spent hours and hours stumbling on live versions of old favorites, like all the different Townes Van Zandt versinos of Pancho and Lefty, and randomly csting the line and coming up with things like Mickey Newbury's supposed last live performance. And then there's the version of I Want YOu that Sophie B Hawkins did at the Bobfest, which may be an example of you had to be there, but I could watch that three times a day. Or until I need glasses.
Mark McDonough (mcdee) Sat 31 Mar 12 15:07
Yeah, I sometimes get lost on youtube watching stuff - sometimes things I've heard of, sometimes things I never would have heard of.
Scott Underwood (esau) Sat 31 Mar 12 16:35
It seems to me that there's a place for a YouTube/Pandora-type mashup, a TV channel like the old MTV days, with back-to-back videos for hours. Sometimes that's what I want, but the effort to do it on my TV is too difficult.
those Andropovian bongs (rik) Sat 31 Mar 12 18:44
Since I seldom run background music, I find youtube useful for finding new stuff. And we run Pandora in the background at work, and we all take turns setting up channels for the various genres that interest us. So really the way I find new music is by having my workmates point it out to me. They're a smart bunch.
Susan Sarandon, tractors, etc. (rocket) Sat 31 Mar 12 21:10
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 1 Apr 12 05:56
Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) had a great rant on promoting artists and general state of music these days at SXSW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpuH88kbDM0&feature=related
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 1 Apr 12 05:58
He has a lot to say, and does, for an hour, with Alex Jones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9TVc8Tob98&feature=youtu.be
Barry Smolin (shmo) Sun 1 Apr 12 13:39
I come at music from several different angles: As a radio DJ I'm also on the lookout for cool new stuff. Last.fm, Pandora, Spotify, etc. can be helpful, though I've found that most of my discoveries come via bands/artists who send me their material for possible airplay (though I have to sift through 90% mediocre--or worse--stuff to find the jewels) and also reliable new music pundits like our own Richard Gehr <rgehr> and Jesse Jarnow <jjarnow> as well as more casual word-of-mouth and links posted on Facebook. I'm also a songwriter/musician, and, like everybody else in that game, it has become increasingly difficult to sell product. I don't perform very often because I don't enjoy it much, but I do play live here in L.A. on occasion, usually to try out new material. Although I know the smart thing would be to play material available on my albums at live gigs and maybe sell a few discs at the venue, I'm an inherently bad businessman and also get bored playing old stuff, so live performances are not money-makers for me. The only money I've made off my music has been licensing my song "The Earth Keeps Turning On" to the TV show "Weeds." The tune appeared in an episode in Season 3 and also ended up on the Season 3 soundtrack album, and those placements resulted in some cash. Otherwise, I don't think of music as a revenue stream for me. Overall, this is really a golden age in terms great available new music, though the fractured niche-oriented nature of 21st Century delivery systems (and, consequently, public listening habits) and the pervasive reluctance of of folks to pay for recorded music (though they'll still plunk down for liver performances) has made it problematic for the artists creating the music to earn a living. On another tangent, I'm a pretty prolific songwriter and can crank out hooky-earwormy tunes on a steady basis, so I would've LOVED the whole Brill Building environment. Sitting in a room with a piano and some cigar-chomping boss saying to me, "We need a song about 2 teenagers making out in the back seat of a station wagon; you've got 20 minutes," would've been my heaven.
Barry Smolin (shmo) Sun 1 Apr 12 13:42
<scribbled by shmo Sun 1 Apr 12 13:43>
David Gans (tnf) Sun 1 Apr 12 15:21
<http://www.mrsmolin.com> My favorite of Barry's songs is still "A Goddamn Thing" from "The Crumbling Empire of White People" <http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mrsmolin2>
Scott Underwood (esau) Sun 1 Apr 12 15:29
As much as I love and seek out novelty (in the sense of "good music that's new to me"), I can't imagine being sent piles of new music to listen to -- there's so much available online, I can't keep up. To name just two sources, the blogs from Largehearted Boy and the NPR Music group alone provide hours of streaming music. Also, as I'm getting older I find I'm keeping up less with new names, both the new "indie" groups and big names on the radio (which I only hear when I drive with my wife). I really agree with Barry, this is a golden age for music discovery; on the other hand, with a few exceptions, it's a hard time to launch a career in the business for all but the most indefatigable and persistent.
those Andropovian bongs (rik) Sun 1 Apr 12 15:57
ONe aspect of the aging process is that the compulsion to keep up with pop culture fades. To someone deeply immersed in pop culture, and to whom it's vitally important, I look lame and out of touch, while most of my friends that are close to my age are amazed at how well I do keep up. Frankly, but for professional purposes, I wouldn't bother to the extent that I do. Even my Vasen obsession is 10 years old. Neophilia has lost it's hold on me. And yet, I still hear sounds that make me perk up and think that I'd like to hear some more of that, thank you very much. It happened to me just a few hours ago, when I was walking by the door of the apartment next door. It turned out to be a 30 year old Fela Kuti track though. Quality will always get my attention.
J. Eric Townsend (jet) Sun 1 Apr 12 16:58
Quick poll: - who here is under 30 years old? - under 25 years old? I spend a fair amount of time with people in these age groups and watching them pick group-listening music is an interesting process. Rarely do they break out an iPod or Zune, it's almost always tuning to a streaming station that plays the right mix of music. A lot of the new music I'm hearing now is technically new, but it's not that different other than being by new artists who have 20-somethings as their fan base. There's no genre -- no arguing about which sort of punk, who wrote the songs, their politics -- just collections of I describe as relatively safe and boring college pop music. What did surprise me was how much music they know about and how much of what we hear are covers of 70s or 80s pop and rock, or contemporary versions of early pop and rock music. We listend to some French station for awhile which sounded like a retro 60s station but it turns out it's all new French pop music. (That I didn't understand. :-)
David Wilson (dlwilson) Sun 1 Apr 12 18:26
When last.fm first came out I listened to it a lot and scrobbled my music (registered it with them). This enabled me to get a better and better "music discovery" experience. I'm of the generation where music discovery was my friends "pulling my coat" to a particular album or artist. Other sources were disk jockeys and salespeople at record stores. This was regular word-of-mouth which has been enhanced through the internet. I liked what was happening with last.fm--you punch in an artist or a genre and their computers select a playlist which mixed people I knew with bands that I never heard of. As to the social media recommendation that is good up to a point. I still think that music discovery is based on trust and that takes time. Last.fm's computer shortens the process but I still prefer to have someone pull my coat. With access to so much music now it is unmanageable without someone selecting and suggesting. And trust is still the basis of that process.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 2 Apr 12 04:36
I go to a coffee shop where the employees are allowed to bring in their own mixes to put on the system...quite a spectrum of music from all the different kids. Something catches my ear and I'll go ask who that is and follow up on my computer at home. Usually make a playlist on Spotify and if I like it, I'll buy it. My kids are constantly sending me music they think I'll like via Dropbox as well. And I reciprocate with my idea of classics and new music I discovered. My son is big on Ed Sheeran right now. I just discovered Black Keys (gives you an idea how far out of the loop I am) and Cass McCombs and Devendra Banhart via the coffee shop.
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